A circuit breaker stops the power flow through a circuit if there is too much power flowing through it.The breakers will need to be changed sometimes.Electricity can be deadly if you hire a licensed, competent, and insured electrician.You will need to know how to find the breaker box, take note of any issues, and replace a faulty breaker if you choose to do so yourself.
Step 1: You can find the circuit breaker box.
Some homes have multiple breaker boxes.You need to replace a circuit breaker in the main box.If you don't know what the circuit breaker boxes are in your home, call an electrician.
Step 2: The breaker panel should be inspected for damage or discoloration.
You should make sure the breaker boxes are safe before you start working on them.It may be unsafe to work on a box that has been damaged.When you first look at the circuit breaker box, look for any signs of rust, discoloration or charring.If you see something that looks dangerous, call an electrician.Certain types of panels, specifically those bearing one of the following names, should be avoided.There is a lot of debate about the safety of these panels.Get in touch with an experienced electrician for advice.You can decide what to do based on what you find.
Step 3: Gloves, shoes, and tools are rubber-insulated.
When trying to reduce the chance of an electrical shock, take all precautions.When working with electricity, use rubber insulated tools and wear rubber-soled shoes and gloves.If you don't have rubber-soled shoes or if you want to take further precautions, put a rubber mat below the circuit breaker box.If the area around the breaker box is not safe, call an electrician.
Step 4: The breaker needs to be located.
Only a circuit breaker that has been damaged should be replaced.If a circuit breaker is damaged, it will cut power to the section of the home it controls.The circuit breaker is the one that stands out from the others.A tripped circuit breaker switch is usually between the on and off positions.There are too many items plugged into the same circuit that cause the breakers to trip.If this is a recurring problem, you may need to run an additional circuit and install a second circuit breaker.It will need to be replaced if a breaker trips repeatedly over a long period of time.
Step 5: The breaker needs to be tested.
Make sure the circuit breaker is faulty before you replace it.All light and electrical devices in the section of your home that is controlled by the circuit breaker should be unplugged.The breaker switch should be turned completely off and back on again.If the breaker is allowing power through or if the device is completely broken, plug it back in to see if it is powered.The breaker will trip if the circuit is overloading.It is likely that you will need to reduce power usage in that part of your home.The capacity of the breaker may be reduced if you think it is tripping without being overloadd.You should check the amperage of your circuit breaker if you think this is the case.
Step 6: The circuit breaker can be tested.
The circuit breaker can be tested with a voltage tester.Press one lead to the neutral wire in the breaker box to remove the faceplate.The circuit breaker has a screw on it.The tester should show how much power is being allowed.If you have a double pole circuit breaker, it pulls from both of the hot wires that power the circuit panel, so it will have twice the voltage.Only touch the components you need to touch, and only with the leads on the tester.Be careful, the power will need to be on for this to work.
Step 7: Turn off all the individual breakers.
Make sure you turn off all the power to the circuit breaker before you do any work on it.If you have a main box in your home, turn off the power to the branch box first.The main power should be turned off after all the breakers.You should act as if the power is still on even after you turn it off.You have to touch the parts of the circuit breaker box.If you turn off the main power or the power to the area around you, the lights will go off as well.You don't have to work in the dark if you have an alternative light source nearby.
Step 8: Remove the part that's on the floor.
The circuit breaker box will allow you to switch breakers on and off, but it won't give you access to the entire circuitbreaker.Carefully remove the screws from the corner of the breaker box.Lift the faceplate away from the breaker box if you hold the edges.Pull the panel towards you and then slide it down.Don't let it touch the circuit breaker box as you remove it.You can easily find the screws when you put them somewhere.It is easier to keep the screws in a safe place while they are not attached to the breaker box.
Step 9: If the interior of the panel is discolored, it's time to inspect it.
Look for signs of damage when touching the panel of the breaker box.Call a licensed electrician if you see anything that seems unsafe or out of the ordinary.Keep an eye out for any rust, mold, signs of pests, loose wires, melting, charring, heat marking, strange wiring, or multiple colored wires connected to each other.These can be dangerous.
Step 10: The faulty breaker has to be removed.
It is always a good idea to only touch the components you need when touching items inside the circuit breaker box.The circuit breaker needs to be grasped with a firm grip.Lift the side that faces towards the center of the panel in order to move it up and down from the breaker panel.Pull the breaker free if you unhook it from the hinge on the edge of the panel.
Step 11: The wire should be disconnected from the circuit breaker.
The wire will be held in by a screw on the other side.To loosen this screw, use a flat-head screwdriver.The wire should be separated from the circuit breaker.Track loose wires as they can be very dangerous.To keep the wire out of the way, place it in the circuit breaker box.When you install a new circuit breaker, you need to connect the disconnected wire to it.
Step 12: The amperage and type of the circuit breaker are important.
The circuit breaker replacement needs to be the same type as the faulty one.The fault breaker's amperage, as well as any codes or numbers written elsewhere on it, should be taken into account.
Step 13: The circuit breaker is faulty.
There isn't much value to any of the components of a circuit breaker.If you don't have a power supply, you can throw circuit breakers away.
Step 14: There is a new circuit breaker for the faulty one.
The new circuit breaker needs to be the same type as the old one.If you're looking for a particular circuit breaker, your local hardware store may have it.You can ask the staff if they can get one for you, or if there is one you missed.If the circuit breaker you are replacing is a ground fault circuit interrupter, be sure to replace it with another one of the same type.
Step 15: The new circuit breaker needs to be clipped.
Attach your new circuit breaker by using the opposite motion to remove the faulty one.Place the end without a screw under the hook and pivot the breaker down until it clicks into place.
Step 16: Attach the wire that is loose.
Attach the wire to the loose screw by holding the circuit breaker.Keeping it in place, tighten the screw.As you tighten the screw, you may want to use a pair of needle-nose pliers to hold the wire in place.You don't need to over-tighten the screw.Don't risk squeezing the wires to the point of damage if it is secure.If the rubber insulation on the wire touches the screw or the circuit breaker, it may be damaged or melt over time.
Step 17: The faceplate needs to be re-attached.
Lift the faceplate and put it back in place.Attach the faceplate to the rest of the box using the same screws that came out of it.The screw should be the same length and type.If the screws are too long or have a pointed end, they may damage the wiring.
Step 18: The power needs to be turned on.
If you have a main box, turn on the power to the branch box first.The main power should be turned on in the breaker box.It's time to get power back to your home.